Your Wedding, Your Way. Customize Your Day!

Your Wedding, Your Way… What does that mean? Isn’t my wedding supposed to be my way?? Well, of course it is but a surprising amount of couples we speak with are pretty surprised they can structure their night in many different ways! When we mention formal activities like the Bouquet toss or Garter removal a typical response is “Don’t we have to do it?” My answer to you is ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Traditions are great and can be a lot of fun IF it’s something YOU want to do but we always let our couples know the best overall structure to follow is one that perfectly blends both of your personalities and shows them off to your guests. This starts with your ceremony…
What is your vision? Do you have one? Is your vision blocked by tradition? Do you feel like you “have to” have your processional to “Here Comes The Bride”? The answer is NO, you don’t… Any aspect of your special day can and should reflect what you and your new spouse love! Your prelude and processional music should match your ceremony style but we always recommend the recessional song to match the style celebration you’re looking for.
We enjoy recommending our Timed Ceremonies, these are by far our favorite and most used ceremony style. Taking a popular song that has been covered by a specific artist and completely changed into an elegant and classy song. Using a specific song we hide our Bride behind a door and only open the doors to expose her beauty after the cover singer says the cue words. The doors open, the groom becomes emotional and the guests who focused on the words sung immediately appreciate what they just saw.
This is different and something that you will not see often. The key to creating memories at a wedding and celebration and standing out from your friends is to create emotion. The more emotions you evoke the more they will remember!
As you kiss to seal your marriage and your officiant announces you for the first time what’s next? How should you be sent off to your celebration? Rice? Bubbles? Coins?
Ok coins are a bad idea but this is where you’d want to let your creativity flow… We have had couples hand out paper airplanes with markers so they could write a beautiful and encouraging message then fly it as they walk out, same with Chinese lanterns… This is your opportunity to shine once again.
How about your recessional song? This song should directly reflect the style celebration you’re looking for… This is your first opportunity to engage your guests and prepare them for the fun you and your DJ or planner have structured…
The same goes for your cocktail hour. Even though your cocktail hour music is played at a low level it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Make sure the music style you choose encourages the style party you are about to have. You’ve planned for a year and created a structure that is conducive of a high energy dance party… Use this time to get you’re guests more engaged and ready for the celebration.
It’s now time for YOUR celebration!!! What style are you looking for with your formal introductions, high energy with your crowd yelling or a bit more subdued and casual. What about your first dance, do you want a choreographed routine or to share the dance with your family and friends (instead of just your bridal party)…
No matter how you’d like to execute the beginning of your celebration the number one concern we have is the structure. It seems like most couples enjoy structuring their celebration by starting with their introductions then their first dance followed by both parent dances and finally the toasts… Phew. Just writing that structure tired me out.
The problem we have with this structure is that at some point during the 30-45 minutes your guests are expected to stay focused they generally will lose it somewhere plus you’re conveying to your crowd that these formal dances are not that important and you just want to “get them over and done with”.
You’re structure is the absolute most important aspect to your planning and you need to focus on your guests and the style party you’re trying to achieve. Our favorite structure has the introductions and 1st dance up front then inviting he guests to join in the 1st dance half way in and then onto a dance set that goes until the entree is served. Toasts just before dinner starts, parent dances at the trailing end of dinner followed by our very special anniversary dance then on to dancing. Your parents deserve the respect of a dance that has the rooms complete focus!
On to your end of the night activities… The garter removal and bouquet toss, two activities that are fading and fading quickly. It is an old school tradition and most couples feel they are making their guests have an awkward moment. The option to do this or not is completely up to you and how you feel your guests will respond to it but it is very important to know that if you feel awkward while just thinking about it, it’s probably best to just nix it. That awkward feeling will feel a lot worse in front of 150 family and friends and they will pick up on it. If it’s something you want to do then have fun with it! This is a great opportunity to show off your sense of humor and to create another emotional experience for your guests. We always say, when stopping the music for an activity that activity should be fun and enjoyable while evoking emotion from your guests.
The last formal activity I’d like to inspire creativity from is your last dance or your send off. After reading this giant blog I hope I opened your mind a bit and helped you realize what you can actually do. We love using songs like Glad You Came, Feel This Moment or the new Time of my Lives, no matter what you choose make sure you are sent off in the way you’d like to be. There is nothing worse then just having a song end and the party end with it.
Thank you for reading through our first, extremely long lol, blog post! Have some fun and try to enjoy the planning process! You won’t realize how quickly he night ends and you only have a few hours to make the impression you’re looking for! Enjoy and best wishes at your ceremony and celebration I hope I was able to inspire some creativity and personalization!!
We are Donnie and Jenny Lewis, owners of Your Event Matters Entertainment and Photo Booths.
We can be reached at our Facebook page @YourEventMattersEntertainment our Instagram @djdonnielewis or directly at YourEventMatters.com
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Interview with Pro Wedding DJ Donnie Lewis of Your Event Matters Entertainment and Photo Booths

By Lisa Zaro, Wedding Officiant

 

Donnie, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about your Hudson Valley wedding DJ & photo booth business. Tell us about what makes your DJ and photo booth experience special and what brides and grooms can expect from you.

We provide very personal wedding celebrations tailored to each couple from the most elaborate events with amazing lighting productions to the small intimate very personal experiences!

To create the most magical experience, it takes a strong structure and flow. It is not hard creating that, but it takes communication and guidance. It is very important to us to get to know each couple. We truly want to assist and guide our couples. Answering texts or emails at 11 in the evening is common for us. We know how stressful it can be but we truly want you to try to enjoy it, rather then hate it.

 

How long have you been providing wedding services?
We started Your Event Matters Entertainment in 2012. I was previously working for a large company and didn’t get the interactions with the couples I really wanted and felt we needed to create the most personal experience for each couple and their guests. It’s truly our goal to turn a couples dream wedding into reality but it takes passion, dedication and communication between the couple and their dj. I love that we decided to open your event matters and we have yet to look back.

 

What/who inspired you to start? Did you work for someone else previously, fall into your profession, always dream of doing it and come upon in naturally?

I have been a DJ since the late 90’s and have always had a strong passion for music and events. In the early 2000’s we created shows for the public and consulted for organizations looking to raise funds. At first, I was very apprehensive when it came to performing at a wedding, mainly because I felt there was a lot of information I needed to know before taking on a couples special event. Before jumping into weddings, I took event planning classes, spoke with some highly respected professional wedding DJs and ran with their tips. I then started working for that large company and shortly after started Your Event Matters.

My current influences are vast but all share common traits, including passion, dedication and a love for their couples. One person I’d love to thank for all the advice he’s given over my first 3 years is Joe Garcia. Bouncing ideas off each other in hopes of creating new experiences for our couples is a huge benifit to the couples thst book with us. Competition isn’t ugly with us, it’s welcomed. Two other major influences for me were Mike Sucsa and Bri Swatek, both great at different aspects of weddings and the perfect people to get advice from.

 

What sets you apart from your competition?

First off, the Hudson Valley is filled with some amazing talent and passionate DJs that truly provide for their couples. The Hudson Valley DJ Association is comprised of local DJs that want to expand their services or learn about how they can improve.

Personally, I spend a lot of time with each couple, planning meetings lasting 2 hours is the norm, to me its not possible to gauge the couple or to really let them express what their dream celebration is by handing me a piece of papr. We require 2 things from our couples: The first is that they need to be able to accept the word “no”. Not because I don’t want to do something specifically, but because I want to ensure the flow and structure is conducive for what their vision is. Having a couple try to tackle a timeline is great and I love their passion, but a lot of times the guests are not taken into consideration. The second requirement is an open line of communication. We are not the type of company that askes you to just mail us documents. We truly want you to have an enjoyable planning experience and we try to relieve a lot of stress by responding to questions as quickly as possible while also walking our couples through their wedding at our planning meeting, explaining different options for formalities and ways to personalize the night.

 

Is this your full-time job?

For the last 17 years, Jenny and I have worked in the non-profit field, working with the austic population and most recently teaching patients with traumatic brain injuries. I absolutely love it, but in april of 2015 we have decided to pursue our company full time. We are very excited, but at the same time sad at this change. I enjoy my guys and what we do.

 

What is a typical wedding day like for you? Do you rise and shine at the crack of dawn no matter what? Do you have a routine you follow? A checklist? Your own team of pros that help you?

Each event day starts off with going over our checklist, making sure all the documents i’ve printed are in our laptop bag. Double-check songs for important dances and ensuring every must play is accounted for. Load the trailer with the needed equipment and back up equipment then kiss our boys as we head out.

We arrive at each wedding 2-4 hours early depending on location and the specific set up the couple chooses. Initially, when we get to the venue I sit with the caterer to discuss the timeline we (the couple and myself) have created. If any changes are needed, they are changed, then I give a copy of the timeline to each professional working the celebration. Setup then starts and we are ready to rock!

 

Imagine your dream couple. What are they like? What is their style in reference to your specialty?

My dream couple? A couple with an amazing sense of humor that has a lot of love for each other and want to create the most personal event they can. A couple that truly wants a unique, non traditional experience and is open to many different things. A couple that loves music, a lot of energy and to dance with their loved ones. I’m actually very selective with our couples and the first red flag for us is a couple that may argue with each other during our consultation.

 

If you are married, what would you do differently about your own wedding day now that you have been in your profession for a while? If you are not married, if you wed in the future, do you think your choices would be harder or easier since you have been in business for so long?

Our wedding was amazing! We had a very unique night, hiring our favorite artist to perform a song Jenny and I love, horse and carriage ride, plus so many extras. I would incorporate our anniversary dance, because I love how we present each winner and I’d have our dancing on the clouds effect.

One thing I’d absolutely change was not having a planner or someone to handle the logistics day of. I missed a portion of the celebration handling various tasks.

 

What advice could you offer newbies in the wedding DJ and photo booth specialties?

Take your time and educate yourself. A wedding is not the time to practice anything. Network with local pros, become a part of your local organizations and continue to learn and grow. Make sure your presentation is appropriate for a wedding, clean up and take pride in your setups. Hide wires, be proactive and make sure your number one concern is the couple and giving them their vision. Be ready to stand up for your couple if you feel they are not being attended to appropriately. Just have a strong passion for weddings, don’t look at it just as a paycheck.

 

What do you like most about being a wedding DJ and providing exciting photo booth services?

The execution of the celebration after a year’s worth of planning. I love seeing our couples faces when they see their dreams taking shape and the compliments after each wedding!

 

Do you have a favorite ceremony or reception location?

There are so many beautiful wedding venues in the Hudson Valley and narrowing it down to one is impossible. Diamond Mills, the Bonura facilities, Villa Borghese, Falkirk Estates, Chalet on the Hudson, just to name a few.

 

What advice can you offer couples for their wedding?

Don’t soley shop based on price. Look at the value you’re getting and make sure each vendor matches your personality. It will make for an easier experience and you will have a lot less stress!

 

Looking back over what you have accomplished, are there any moments that stand out as favorites?

The New York Times Feature Wedding our couple won in the 1st year we opened. All of the planning resulted in a truly magical night that allowed them to beat out many couples to be the one selected. Also, winning a WeddingWire Brides / Couples Choice award every year we have been in business. It’s a direct reflection of what our couples think about us and how much they appreciated our service.

 

Is there anything you would like to add?

A word of advice… couples have this notion that because our parents did it we have to. That is completely untrue. Traditions are great if it is what you want, not what you think should happen “just because”. The ceremony and celebration should be a direct reflection of your personalities perfectly mixed and shown off to your guests. You likely have a dream of how you want the night to go and no professional should distract you away from it.

Take the time and sit with your desired professionals, make a desion based on what they can and will offer you, not because they are the cheapest.

 

There is a quote that always sticks out to me: Good DJ’s are not cheap and cheap DJ’s are not good.
Many thanks to Donnie and Jenny Lewis, Your Event Matters Entertainment & Photo Booths (Est. 2012) for sharing their wedding DJ story and words of wisdom! – Rev. Lisa Zaro, Wedding Officiant, revzaro.com

Wedding DJ & Photo Booth Office Location: Hopewell Junction, NY

Preferred geographical areas to work in: The Hudson Valley, but we have traveled as far as Florida to perform at weddings.

Contact Donnie & Jennie Lewis at Your Event Matters Now!
Phone: 845.224.4795
E-mail: djdlew@yahoo.com
Web: youreventmatters.com
Facebook: facebook.com/youreventmattersentertainment